Kingmaker

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (theatre): Kingmaker at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33). Review by David Pollock

After The Thick of It, a Westminster satire really needs to be as sharp as a nail to catch the attention. This three-hander from writers Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky and director Hannah Eidinow can’t quite be described as such, shining a light on backroom behaviours of our elected politicians in a manner which might not seem so scandalous following recent rumours and revelations.

Yet it does ring with a sense of rich authenticity, thanks to Khan’s background in politics, including a current role as an Islington councillor.

It’s also a play with three constantly watchable performances at its core, with Joanna Bending as Eleanor Hopkirk, the Tory parliamentary whip with an ulterior motive who has brought wide-eyed but ambitious young buck Dan Regan (Laurence Dobiesz) together with old-stager Max Newman (Alan Cox) in an office in the bowels of Parliament to discuss the former’s leadership election challenge to the latter.

It all unfolds in a manner which is predictable but engaging; plot corners which don’t feel sharp are carried by the cast and some of the dialogue fairly crackles in places.

In particular, Cox is excellent, a fey, Boris Johnsonesque study in naked ambition wrapped in bumbling fecklessness who believes the humourless should be kept from power and the aim of winning the political game is simply to change the rules faster than the next guy.

Until 25 August. Today 3pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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